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Workplace Eye Safety

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More than 2000 people suffer from eye injuries while at work every single day, and one in ten injuries may result in one or more missed days of work. The importance of workplace eye safety is something that should be discussed regularly, so make sure your employees understand ways to keep their eyes safe while at work.

Manual labor is the most common profession for eye injuries, which include steel workers, carpenters, welders, and painters, to name a few. These professions are dealing with flying objects, chemicals and tools that raise the risk of particles entering the eye. Having proper eye protection can help keep you from being the 10-20% of those injuries that result in permanent vision loss:

  • Safety Glasses – used for light duty work as they protect your eyes from the front and sides against foreign objects
  • Goggles – provide complete coverage of the eyes and seal to your face, so more effective against chemical splashes, sprays, and sand blasting than safety glasses
  • Face Shields – these provide coverage to your entire face and should be worn when cutting tools are used as they protect from sparks or when large pieces of debris can be thrown from power tools
  • Full-face Respirators – these are the best solution when fumes, vapors or gasses are present as they prevent damage to your eyes and face, while using a spray gun in an enclosed area or mixing chemicals

Working in an office can be quite hazardous to your eyes as well, but in a different sense. The most common eye problem is Computer Vision Syndrome, which does not cause permanent damage to your vision, but it makes your eyes feel irritated and fatigued. Too much screen time and not enough breaks can cause such things as headaches, neck pain, back strain, and dry eye – and remember, screen time isn’t just the computer, but cell phones and televisions as well. Just taking these steps can help alleviate symptoms:

  • Reposition your screen – adjust your screen, so it’s angled away from any direct light source
  • Invest in an anti-glare screen and computer glasses
  • Keep in mind the 20-20-20 rule – for every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet for at least 20 seconds
  • Don’t forget to blink – this will keep your eyes from drying out
  • Use artificial tears – helps keep your eyes comfortable and prevents dryness
  • Drink water – air can be dry in the office, especially in the winter months, so drink up!
  • Get to the eye doctor regularly and have an eye exam

Knowing what the eye safety dangers are and eliminating hazards will keep your employees from becoming eye injury statistics.

Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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